As a women’s fitness and wholistic health coach, I’m often working with busy mums, which has made me wonder, What will I be like when I’m pregnant and when I become a new mum? I can’t say what it’ll be like being a new mum since bub isn’t due until next month, but here’s what my research and personal experience have taught me about having a healthy, enjoyable pregnancy.
If possible, prepare your body
Although we hadn’t been actively trying to conceive, about six months prior to falling pregnant, we checked in with our health professionals with the purpose of being as healthy as possible before trying to conceive.
In retrospect, I’m really happy we made the decision to be proactive because I believe it has helped prepare my body to grow this little bubba better than if I hadn’t. I highly recommend to anyone wanting to start a family to give yourself a minimum of six months to prepare your body, especially if you’re low on nutrients that are specifically necessary during pregnancy, such as iron, zinc and vitamin B12.
In terms of my fitness, I also made it a priority to exercise regularly and consistently before falling pregnant, so that it would be easier to maintain being active while pregnant. For me, that included three strength workouts and three cardio/high-intensity interval training workouts a week, between 30 and 45 minutes in length.
Move, somehow and often
In general, many women opt for doing light cardio and stretching during pregnancy. While these modes of exercise definitely have their benefits, it is also recommended by leading women’s health physios to include regular strength training and moderate intensity cardio exercise for a well-rounded level of fitness during pregnancy. This could include regular outdoor brisk walks (enough to raise the heart rate), group fitness classes, weight training and team sports.
This may be easier said than done since being pregnant is often accompanied by being exhausted. Early on, I began reading Erica Willick’s book, Your Fit Pregnancy, which encourages women to try to do “something” most days. So whenever I struggled to get to the gym and do a workout, my “something” was a 20-minute brisk walk. I reminded myself that, even if I was super tired, this was good for my body, my baby and my mind, and I could always nap later.
By just doing something during the challenging times, whatever that may be for you, it will make it far easier to keep up an active habit once you do have energy again.
Of course, if you are pregnant, make sure you have your doctor’s approval before embarking on any exercise and, if possible, seek out a trained pre- and post-natal trainer to devise a program that’s appropriate for you.
A positive mental state
Understandably, being a first-time mum can freak you out! I’ve already had many moments of worry, stress and fear that I’ve done something wrong, eaten something that could harm the baby or that I’m not going to be a good enough mum. I think it’s normal to have these thoughts, but if we don’t keep them in check, it can be to our detriment.
For me, the underlying factor is whether or not we have come to a place of acceptance, love and strong belief in our personal worth and value. What I mean is, so many of us women allow negative self-talk, along with the opinions of others, to determine how we think about ourselves, and how much value we place on ourselves.
What if we each chose to believe that we were inherently born with unfathomable value and potential? What if we rejected the notion that the negative things that have happened to us have affected our limitless value and potential? What if we didn’t allow our failures or successes to be the determining factors of what we’re worth, but knew instinctively that our worth remains the same no matter how we “perform” in life?
As a Christian, I truly believe every one of us is of infinite value and, therefore, have the right to live believing that! If we believed this about ourselves, we would make the best choices for our health, for our mindset, for our relationships and for our own respect.
So my take home message for you (and me) is to believe that we are truly worthy and to live it. Surround ourselves with those who support us and our values, and treat our bodies as the amazing temples they are, with the wonderful ability to create, grow and bring a beautiful new life into this world, all without us instructing it to!
Prepare your body
Strength workouts I did to prepare myself for pregnancy included:
Cardio workouts included:
- 45 minute walk/run intervals (2 minute brisk walk, 1 minute run)
- 30 minute treadmill on an incline
- 30 minutes on the elliptical machine (2 minutes easy, 1 minute heavy)
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